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X-Men #107 (1977, October)

January 6, 2013

I start classes again tomorrow. I’m nervous. Oh well, I’m sure I’ll be fine. For today, “Where No X-Man Has Gone Before!”

Where No X-Man Has Gone Before!

Time for punching!

We finally catch up to the X-Men, who are on another world, with a bunch of aliens, and a giant ruby crystal. It doesn’t take long at all for a fight to break out. Even with Phoenix exhausted from teleporting the team across the cosmos, the X-Men get an early advantage. One of the aliens changes into a giant monster, but Nightcrawler again shows his quick thinking by using his image inducer to look like an even bigger monster, startling the shapeshifter into returning to normal long enough for Nightcrawler to knock him out. Wolverine gets blasted from behind by Starbolt, but ignores the pain in order to throw Oracle into Starbolt. Sadly, his costume is ruined. Wherever will he get a replacement. Well, maybe he can find a spare after taking down Fang.

Up by the Crystal, Emperor D’Ken has Lilandra chained up, and he summons an amorphous being called the Soul-Drinker. Nightcrawler teleports over and manages to break the chain, but she’s too petrified to move. So he grabs her and teleports. This actually marks the first time he’s teleported with another person. He and Lilandra are both left nearly unconscious by the effort.

Now we learn some facts from Lilandra, though some of it was already known. She’d opposed some insane scheme of her brother, Emperor D’Ken, and was declared a traitor. She was Grand Admiral of the Imperial Fleet, and the Fleet split down the middle in a civil war, with the final battle over the planet with the crystal. She managed to escape her brother, and somehow sensed Xavier. Apparently, it was Xavier’s defeat of the Z’Nox that bridged the distance between them. D’Ken’s telepathic spies also sensed it, and told D’Ken, who ordered Eric the Red – Davan Shakari – to prevent Lilandra and the X-Men from meeting.

But now we get to the important part. The M’Kraan Crystal, we learn, is a gateway to power that opens once every million years, when 9 “death-stars” enter a certain alignment. Gladiator shows up and after a brief exchange, he says his duty is to obey the Emperor.

Back at the fight, things aren’t going well for the X-Men. Wolverine shows up in Fang’s costume, for all the good it does him. Cyclops gets knocked out, and Gladiator grabs Lilandra, talking about having once cared for her as he prepares to angrily kill her. She says she’s afraid of what D’Ken’s doing, since M’Kraan translates to “The End of All That Is.”

That’s when the Starjammers show up. With the four of them joining the fight, things are reversed quickly, and the heroes save the day. The leader of the Starjammers looks human, and speaks with, as Jean puts it, “American slang and accent.” She does a quick mind-scan, and what she learns shocks her, and has something to do with Scott.

Finally, the stars align, and they send a beam of light into the crystal, causing the universe to simply . . . not exist, for a fraction of a second. And if those cosmic blinks keep up, the universe will eventually die. Doom doom dooooooom!

It’s a very good issue. We get a few answers, and we get some great action. And we also get some new mysteries added. There’s not a lot of room for characterization, though there are subtle moments here and there, such as Wolverine’s loving a good fight, or Nightcrawler’s thoughts regarding the shapeshifter. The Imperial Guard are mostly visually interesting, too. They’re actually based on DC’s Legion of Superheroes, which Cockrum had previously penciled. (In fact, Nightcrawler was originally designed for that book, though the editor rejected him.) This issue also features the debut of Wolverine’s greatest costume – his Fang costume!

Speaking of . . . the X-Men showed up in Iron Fist #15, from September, by Claremont and Byrne. We see Wolverine outside Jean and Misty’s apartment, thinking about how much he cares for Jean, and how she should leave Scott for him. He sees someone slip into the apartment, and Iron Fist looks at the place set up for a party. Before he can slip out, Wolverine busts in – still wearign his Fang costume! Which would’ve been really confusing to a lot of people, I think. They fight for a bit, and Iron Fist thinks about how he’s reminded of Sabretooth. He throws Wolverine out the window, where he’s caught by Nightcrawler, who had just told Colossus he won’t hide behind an image inducer any more. Colossus tosses Wolverine back up and Nightcrawler teleports. Iron Fist is startled by Nightcrawler’s appearance and punches him, then catches Wolverine and flips him. Then he uses his Fist to punch Colossus out the door. Storm lands outside and enters, just as Colossus is knocked onto the table with all the food, including an egg salad, which is sent flying and smacks Storm right in the face. That stops the fight pretty quickly, as all four men stand afraid. Banshee and Moira see lightning from Jean’s flat, and Fist tries to run away, thinking he should get the Avengers for help against the crazy people trying to kill him. Banshee grabs him, but Fist manages to get free. Storm whips up a wind strong enough to throw Fist back into Colossus’s waiting arms, and Wolverine gets ready to hurt him, before everything is ended by a very angry Jean Grey. Wolverine calls Fist a burglar, but Jean says he’s Misty’s best friend. Scott understands Wolverine jumping to conclusions, but wonders why Storm did. She tries to explain that she was hit in the face with the egg salad, then mumbles that she wishes she was dead. We cut to the party underway (Chris and Dave there with their girlfriends, of course, because they loved putting cameos of themselves in). Jean almost gets evicted, until Danny hears that the building is owned by his company. This was a really fun, funny issue. I loved it. It was also the last issue of Iron Fist, which was sad, because it actually was a very good series. Still, the might’ve been my favourite issue of it. It was completely ridiculous, but in a very good way.

September also saw Howard the Duck #16, by Steve Gerber and an assortment of artists. No cameos, it was just an incredible issue. Gerber explained that he’d hit the deadline and didn’t have a comic completed in time, but rather than allow a reprint (which was standard procedure at the time), he analyzed himself and the comic medium. It’s a lot weirder than I’m making it sound, but also a lot better. It’s a comic that deserves to be read.

Also, in Ms. Marvel #9, by Claremont and Keith Pollard, Deathbird made her debut. She would become a notable X-Men villain, a while later (though it wouldn’t be for years).

And finally, Super-Villain Team-Up #14, from October, by Bill Mantlo and Bob Hall. Magneto is in Latveria to propose the two of them rule the world together, and Doom reveals that he’s actually conquered the world – he released neuro-gas that makes every living thing a servant of Doom. Including Magneto, actually. But Doom wants a challenge, so he releases control of Magneto. Magneto goes to Avengers headquarters for help, but they attack. Eventually, he’s able to explain, but Doom says Magneto can have only one of the Avengers free to help him, and he chooses Beast. Beast suggests they recruit the Champions, but it doesn’t go well.

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